There’s one question that needs to be made at Tuesday’s Presidential debate “Can Joe Biden draw a clock?” The test, used to determine if a person has dementia or cognitive problems would be a wonderful way to open the September 30 debate. , others are curious as to how well “Forgetful” Joe will perform against current President Donald Trump.
A Time-Tested Procedure Like most knowledge I’ve accumulated in life, I learned about the clock test while watching TV, in this instance the soap opera The Young and the Restless. One of the show’s longtime characters began suffering from dementia and she was asked to draw a clock. Her inability to do so wasn’t just a lack of innate drawing skills (not everyone can be a Picasso, gentle reader) but a clue that her brain was not functioning as it should. Yes, the hard-hitting drama of Y&R also provides important information for its millions of viewers.
For those wondering how the test works, the site Very Well Health breaks it down as:
The clinician (often a doctor, psychologist, or social worker) gives the person being tested a piece of paper with a pre-drawn circle on it and asks him to draw the numbers on the clock.
She then tells him to draw the hands to show a specific time. There are several different times that people who administer this test may use, but many choose 10 minutes after 11.
Another method is to simply give the person a blank piece of paper and ask them to draw a clock that shows the time of 10 minutes after 11. Some clinicians also intentionally omit the word “hands” in their directions to avoid giving the test-taker a cue of what needs to be included in the drawing.
Some observers of Joe Biden believe he is suffering from significant cognitive impairment and even possible dementia (hence, his nickname Joe Bidementia). I would suggest that President Trump bring an easel with him to the first debate and ask Joe to draw a circle. As an incentive, President Trump could offer to let Biden sniff running mate Kamala Harris’s hair (Joe’s disturbing penchant for being handsy with women and sniffing their hair has led to another nickname, “Creepy” Joe Biden).
In case you’re wondering how the test works, the framework isn’t as complex as it might seem. The site Dementia Care Central explains that:
Drawing a clock sounds basic and simple, but consider what’s required:
– Verbal understanding
– Spatial knowledge
– Visual memory
– Abstract thinking
First, a person has to hear the instruction and then turn those words into the correct action. It takes thinking ability to turn “Draw a clock” into the act itself. Unfortunately for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, this thinking ability is compromised. Hearing an instruction and acting on it are difficult.
It also takes planning, or an understanding of the steps involved. The brain has to be able to know to first draw a circle, then numbers, then the hands. This also requires visual memory, or remembering what a clock looks like because you’ve seen one before.
Finally, there’s abstract thinking. The reason it’s a good idea to ask for “10 minutes after 11,” is because the mind has some work to do. Someone whose brain doesn’t correctly process information might draw hands pointing to the 10 and the 11. It takes a little more effort to know that the “10 after” means drawing an arrow toward the 2.
A drawn clock is also a powerful symbol for friends and loved ones to see. That single image can represent a loved one’s mental state, while the numbered score on a Q-and-A test just doesn’t have the impact of a clock with obvious mistakes.
In my opinion, short of Joe Biden being animated by Baron Samedi, I have doubts as to his ability to draw a clock. Can he lose his temper? Check. Can he grope a woman? Check. Can he sniff a young child’s hair? Check. Can he draw a clock? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see how good of a job “Sleepy” Joe’s doctors do juicing him up in an attempt to make him at least semi-coherent for the first debate. I have no doubt that there are some amazing medicines that can keep Joe functioning for one or two hours, but what if he’s elected President? Can his decrepit body handle a constant cocktail of drugs to get him to function? If not, how many weeks before Kamala has him declared unfit?
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